What is Triathlon

Triathlon is made up of 3 disciplines consisting of swimming, cycling, running. In it's purest form events start with a swim, is then followed by a bicycle ride, and completed with a run, all over a stipulated distance, however there may be triathlons with the same disciplines completed in another order. All triathlons are done without a break between each discipline. There are a number of other events based on a combination of some of the same disciplines in triathlon, such Aquathlons (swim & run) and Duathlons (run, cycle, run). Participants in triathlon are called "Triathletes".


The first Ironman distance event, and still the most popular Ironman, is the Hawaiian Ironman. This event is held each year in Kona Hawaii. Ironman events are held around the world for triathletes to qualify for this event. Ironman is governed by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) based in the USA, and is a privately run organization which licences and oversees Ironman events around the world.


Triathlon was founded in the 70's by the San Diego Track Club who came up with the idea as an alternative workout in their track running program. The first event was a 10km run, 8km cycle and 500metre swim. Soon after, triathlons were being held in many places in the world, however the first triathlon was not conducted in India until 1990. There were many different distances in triathlon being conducted, however the 2 most popular and enduring distances are "The Ironman Triathlon" consisting of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle followed by a full marathon of 42km and also what is now known as "The Olympic Triathlon Distance" which consists of a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle followed by a 10km run. The Olympic Distance Triathlon came from events that were already part of the Olympic Program.

Olympic Distance Triathlon

The major event annually for athletes competing over this distance is the Triathlon World Championships. This event is conducted each year in the country successfully bidding to the International Triathlon Union (ITU) to stage the world Triathlon Championships. The first world Triathlon Championships were held in Avignon, France in 1989.

In 1994 Triathlon was awarded "Full Medal Status" by the IOC and made it's debut in the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney. and will feature again at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Triathlon will make its debut at the Commonwealth Games next in 2002 at Manchester in Great Britain.

The World Championships, Olympic & Commonwealth Games. The World Cup Series and the Asian Championships are all raced over the Olympic Triathlon Distance.

The Governing Body of Triathlon is the International Triathlon Union (ITU). Founded in Aviagon, France the ITU consists of over 100 member National Federations throughout the world, of which India is a member. The ITU is responsible to their member Federations for the conduct of all triathlons throughout the world with the exception of Ironman events.